Vision 2028

Inspired by Faith

INSPIRED BY FAITH Throughout the strategic planning process, our community expressed a desire to return to our roots and the original inspiration for establishing a school named for Pope Saint John Paul II. We reflected on the story of our founders: after their deeply moving experience during their audience with the Pope, Ann and Monroe Carell returned to Middle Tennessee with a mission to give the initial gift for a new Catholic high school in the Diocese of Nashville. The Carells were called to support the formation of youth because Pope Saint John Paul II’s ministry focused on engaging the spiritual lives of the youth of the entire world. Our namesake serves as inspiration for our future strategic goals because he and all of the Saints point us to Christ. They are models of lives given to Christ at the highest level. With this inspiration, the following strategic plan took shape as a conduit for our work to refocus our connection to our namesake in all that we undertake as an institution inspired by faith.

Dr. Erick Chittle

Christ - Above All Things!

Every institution has inflection points – times when the past is remembered and the future is embraced. I believe we are at such a time at Pope John Paul II Preparatory School. The solid foundation laid by the myriad who sacrificed during our 21-year history makes this present moment of hope possible. As I end my seventh month at JPII, I have treasured looking back and having countless conversations about the founding and growth of our school. In the best sense, we have always been about growing the students placed in our care to their fullest potential in mind, body, character, and spirit. JPII has always been about the “more” - about reaching beyond what seemed possible and sacrificing and surrendering to allow a transformation toward something greater. 

As exemplified by our great patron, Pope Saint John Paul II, this transformation is holistic: academics, arts, and athletics are all enveloped with the God who loves us more than we can possibly imagine. Our namesake embraced life by reading voraciously, studying assiduously, playing soccer enthusiastically, acting and writing passionately, and praying constantly. JPII is the perfect patron for our school, and in many ways, the culture that has grown here reflects the man who inspired the Ann and Monroe Carell family 25 years ago to give the gift that led to the construction of our school.

With the past remembered and appreciated, we now go boldly forward. I would like to highlight three great blessings.

First, we are grateful for the prudent management of our finances, the strong support of the Diocese of Nashville, the generosity of many benefactors, and the wise guidance of the Board of Trustees, which led to our debt of 23 million dollars being paid in full in 2023. This puts JPII in a strong position to address our needs for the future.

Second, the leadership team has developed a vision statement that complements our mission statement and provides clarity and inspiration. For the faculty and staff, it motivates us toward our highest and most important goals. For the parents, it allows them to understand the goal of our partnership, and for benefactors, it will enable them to see what they are supporting. The following vision statement will provide focus and direction for years to come: “To form young people who love God, self, and neighbor, seek Truth, serve others, and lead courageously.”

Finally, I am thrilled to unveil Vision 2028, our strategic plan that will provide a framework and discipline to allow JPII to systematically work toward and achieve its most important objectives for the next three to five years. This plan is the result of hours of work stretching back over two years, led by Board of Trustees president Russell Marino Jr., incoming board president Eddie Pearson, the Board of Trustees, and the school executive leadership team, with input from focus groups and survey feedback from over 1,400 community members.

With our mission and vision clear, our debt paid off, and our strategic direction set, the future is bright at Pope John Paul II Preparatory School. Undoubtedly, it will take dogged discipline and unflagging belief in God’s Providence, but we have a God who is never outdone in generosity. God will bless us richly as we prayerfully sacrifice for the future of JPII and align individual will with the Divine Will. Please hold JPII up in your prayers daily as we form students and help them literally reach for heaven!

Peace and all Good,


Erick Chittle, Ph.D.




Our Mission

Inspired by faith, Pope John Paul II Preparatory School prepares students to be strong in mind, body, character, and spirit for lives of learning and service, according to the Gospel.

graduation cap toss

Our Vision

To form young people who love God, self, and neighbor, seek Truth, serve others, and lead courageously.

While our mission remains unchanged, our new vision statement reflects the values of our mission and allows us to envision the potential of our graduates as they become adults who choose careers focused on working for the Kingdom of God.



  Mission & Catholic Identity


ensuring our values of faith, excellence, character, community, and service are ever-present in all that we do, creating a welcoming environment for all

Integrate the mission, values and Catholic identity into the daily lives of our faculty, staff, and students.

When our founders envisioned Pope John Paul II High School, they dreamed of a unique culture and charism that would bring the school’s mission to life. We will continue to ensure that all decisions reflect the mission and vision of our school. Initiatives will center on increasing understanding of Pope Saint John Paul II’s life and legacy and Catholic school philosophy, integrating faith into curricular and athletic programs, discerning the unique needs of middle school students, and expanding sacramental and devotional opportunities for our entire community.

Ensure a welcoming environment where each person is valued.

By increasing program variety to provide more opportunities for student involvement, we will strive to create a community where each student feels valued and a sense of belonging as we respect the inherent dignity of each student in our care. We will also continue to form relationships with Christian churches in our local community to develop a welcoming environment for students from other faith traditions.

Strive for the school community to reflect the school's values.

Service learning has been a central pillar of our program since our inception, and we will continue to seek opportunities to increase community service initiatives that encourage participation from our entire community and reflect Catholic social teachings.

students praying in the chapel
students doing mission work
peer mentor with student



  Culture of Excellence


Pursuing excellence in all programs, academics, arts, and athletics in a supportive and challenging environment

Meet the needs of the whole student and help each fulfill their God-given potential.

Inspired by the example of Pope Saint John Paul II, a holistic program focused on academic, artistic, and athletic excellence has been fundamental to our school’s identity. We will continue to pursue excellence in support of the whole student in all stages of development through careful examination of student and program data and by supporting the professional development of our faculty and staff.

teacher in the classroom teaching

Attract and retain exceptional faculty and staff.

Student/teacher relationships are at the heart of our school community. Using a variety of recruiting tools will be essential for attracting exceptional faculty and staff who support the mission of Catholic education. Faculty and staff retention will depend on carefully planned professional and community engagement opportunities, helping build a culture of trust and support for our colleagues.




  Community Development


creating and maintaining valuable, life-long relationships with current students, alumni, and members of the community

Deepen the strength and reach of the school's impact and reputation.

As we imagine the possibilities of our institution in the future, we envision ways to develop strong relationships and serve children and families in our diocese, local churches, and the greater community. By enhancing our camp programs and athletic clinics, developing more community events, and hosting educational opportunities for all age groups, we strive to become a place that serves our local community in meaningful ways.

alumni at summer celebration

Develop and engage the alumni community.

Engaging our alumni community and their families is an essential part of the life of our school. Enhancing data-tracking, developing strategic alumni engagement opportunities, and creating ways to support the needs of our alumni community in all stages of life will allow us to form lifelong relationships with our graduates and their families.




  Campus Enhancement


Maintaining and enhancing our campus for our students and the community

Establish a prioritized list of enhancements and major maintenance needs for the existing campus.

Our facilities have now served thousands of students for over two decades. The need for enhancements and major maintenance becomes a priority as we continue to be responsible stewards of our beautiful buildings and grounds.

Develop and take steps toward implementing a 20-year campus master plan.

The recent growth of our student population and programming clearly necessitates campus growth. As we consider both immediate and future needs, we will work with all constituents and a team of professional advisors to develop a campus master plan, allowing us to continue to serve our current students and expand our offerings as an institution.

Maintain and enhance campus security.

Campus safety and security has always been a high priority, and we have enhanced security efforts to match the evolving needs of schools nationwide. We answered immediate safety priorities by hiring a Director of Safety & Security and updating the security of doors, cameras, windows, and visitor procedures. We will continue to focus on regular security training for faculty and staff and regular communication with stakeholders in our community.

school chapel
school gymnasium
school campus



  Financial Strength


increase financial strength to ensure long-term sustainability and expand financial aid options for our students

Ensure the school is accessible to all with a vibrant financial aid program.

We believe that families who support our mission and make personal financial sacrifices to afford tuition should not be denied access to Catholic education due to financial obstacles. By increasing endowed funds for financial aid, partnering with the Diocese of Nashville, and identifying new donors, we will increase access to Catholic education by expanding need-based financial aid for families.

Grow the endowment for long-term stability.

Increasing endowment funds will expand opportunities for long-term growth while ensuring financial stability. Developing clear policies, understanding donor intentions, and setting institutional goals will serve as a starting point for the growth of the endowment.

Establish a clear five-year financial plan for annual sustainability.

A plan for financial sustainability will promote institutional growth by supporting families and remaining financially appealing to potential and current faculty and staff. We will work to plan for predictable tuition increases, allowing families to organize a budget for their children’s Catholic education over multiple years. We will research best practices to develop benchmarks for sustainable spending categories in the budget, which will create a financial plan that includes long-term institutional growth strategies and supports faculty and staff retention goals by ensuring salaries and benefits are commensurate with the local economic market.

girls in the gym
boys at outdoor picnic table
teacher providing instruction



  Strategic Planning Timeline and Process

2022-2023 Board of Trustees 

Mr. Russell Marino Jr., President

Mr. Terry Wallace, Vice President

Mrs. Sharon Edwards, Treasurer

Mrs. Angela Bagsby, Secretary

Mrs. Molly Altenbern

Ms. Ashley Fox '09

Mr. Dave Gould

Mr. Rick Heagarty

Mr. Alex Isaacson '10

Mr. Jonathan Langlois

Mr. Zach Pelka '13

Mr. Luke Pulliza '14

Mr. Wesley Tate '09

Fr. Austin Gilstrap, Ex officio


2022-2023 Executive Leadership Team 

Dr. Erick Chittle, President

Mrs. Jennifer Dye, Interim Principal

Mrs. Laura Thigpen, CFO/COO

Mrs. Michelle Barber

Mrs. Emily Clavin '09

Mr. John Dempsey

Mrs. Lori Jones

Fr. Nonso Ohanaka

Mrs. Jennifer Smith

Dr. Charles Wade

Strategic Planning Committee 

Fr. Austin Gilstrap, Co-Chair

Dr. Jennifer Uhl, Co-Chair

Mrs. Allison Beahm '09

Mrs. Emily Clavin '09

Mr. Scott Gettlefinger

Mr. Andrew Griffith

Mrs. Rachel Grisard '12

Mrs. Amy Lavendar

Mr. Russell Marino Jr.

Mrs. Abby Newby

Mr. Zach Pelka

Ms. Karen Phillips

Mr. Allen Ramsey

Mr. Stephen Strickland '22

Mr. Wesley Tate '09

Mrs. Laura Thigpen

Mr. Jamaal Thompson '17

Dr. Charles Wade


Pope Saint John Paul II
Pope Saint John Paul II

"Young people of every continent, do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters." 

Photo by USCCB

Most Reverend J. Mark Spalding

“I am very proud of the way in which educational excellence rooted in the faith is manifested in service to others and in an embrace of a calling that is greater than each individual’s success. Indeed, at Pope John Paul II Preparatory School, students learn that their greatest potential lies in that intersection of their God-given gifts, the desire to learn, and service to others.” - Bishop Spalding